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Kavanagh expects McGregor to win so decisively that another Diaz rematch won't be necessary

They’ll meet again a month from today.

UFC 194 Mixed Martial Arts UFC featherweight champion Conor McGregor, flanked to the left by coach John Kavanagh. Source: John Locher

CONOR McGREGOR EXPRESSED his interest in a third bout against Nate Diaz during their recent press conference in Las Vegas, but McGregor’s coach doesn’t believe a rubber match will be necessary after they meet next month at the T-Mobile Arena.

McGregor will aim to avenge his submission loss to Diaz from back in March when they collide in the main event at UFC 202 on 20 August. The Irish star, who’s adamant that he’ll reverse the outcome on this occasion, said “I feel we’ll enter into a trilogy fight” when he spoke to the assembled press in Vegas a fortnight ago.

The message from McGregor’s camp for this fight is that no stone has been left unturned in preparation — in stark contrast to UFC 196 when the featherweight champion took a more complacent approach to his welterweight bout against Diaz, which backfired when the Stockton native — who stepped in at short notice to replace the injured Rafael dos Anjos — handed him his first taste of defeat in over five years.

However, while McGregor is open to next month’s clash with Diaz not being his last, SBG Ireland head coach John Kavanagh – speaking on the latest episode of The Mike Dolce Show — explained that he expects his fighter to win so comprehensively that another rematch won’t be required.

“I want this win to be in such a way that there are no questions,” Kavanagh said. “If this is a back-and-forth contest, if Conor ekes out a decision, then it has to be [a rubber match].

“Nate obviously did fantastic in their first match. Conor accepted the change of weight class and style with very short notice, but you’ve got to give massive props to Nate. He accepted it on very short notice [too].

“Now let’s do it where both guys have had months and months of preparation, and there can be no questions asked. And let’s make the victory in such a way that no one can say, ‘Well, he was close, he was close, let’s do the best out of three.’

UFC 196 Mixed Martial Arts Nate Diaz en route to victory against Conor McGregor at UFC 196. Source: AP/Press Association Images

“Neither can bitch or moan. Conor can’t say anything about it — ‘Well, new style of opponent, new weight class’ — and Nate can’t say anything about, ‘Well, it was on nine day’s notice’. No. You both knew who you were fighting, you both knew at what weight class, you both had months of preparation. Who won that one?

“I want that to be decisive. Now, in saying that, maybe there still is cause for a rubber match, but I think it’ll be done in such a way that there won’t be.”

Kavanagh also addressed another rematch which is on the horizon for McGregor — an inaugural defence of his UFC featherweight title against Jose Aldo, the man he knocked out after just 13 seconds last December to win the belt.

Aldo secured his own shot at revenge at UFC 200 earlier this month when he put in an impressive showing en route to his second unanimous-decision triumph against Frankie ‘The Answer’ Edgar to win the interim featherweight title.

The Brazilian, a former UFC and WEC featherweight champion, will now get a chance to reclaim top spot in the 145lbs division, with UFC 205 at Madison Square Garden in New York on 12 November a potential date for his rematch with McGregor.

Despite his admiration for Aldo’s performance, Kavanagh doesn’t expect a different outcome. He also expressed his regret at the fact that Edgar, who had been clamouring for a shot at McGregor, was unable to get the job done against Aldo.

“Probably I had a little personal vision or dream of it being Edgar going in and doing amazing against Aldo — like he did against [Chad] Mendes — and really answering that question. He’s the other top 145′er and let’s have the build-up to the Madison Square Garden [event]. He’s almost a local guy there,” said Kavanagh.

UFC 194 Mixed Martial Arts Conor McGregor knocked out Jose Aldo at UFC 194. Source: AP/Press Association Images

“It would have been just amazing. As storylines go, that would have been really, really exciting. Really, really interesting. But I guess Aldo showed he had ‘The Answer’ again, and I think Aldo — I said this in the lead-up to Conor’s fight — is one of the best in the world at beating short wrestlers. He’s kind of made a career out of it.

“Look at all his big victories in WEC or UFC. He’s just incredible at beating short wrestlers. I’ll be open and honest, and I learn from a lot of fighters; I study Aldo very closely and how he deals with short wrestlers because it’s hard to argue that he doesn’t do it better than anybody else. But I think he suffers badly against walk-forward strikers.

“I thought it would be a quick fight the first time, and when I watched him against Edgar, again I learned a lot from that fight. There were some moments in that where I was like, ‘Oh, I’m going to watch that again’. And I’ll be obsessively watching it because I don’t care about the personalities. I don’t care where it’s going. I care about martial arts. I care about learning moves that not only am I going to show my next wave of guys, but the wave after that.

“There are certain things he’s doing that are really, really brilliant, but then on the other side I look at it and go, ‘It’s pretty much the same guy that [Conor] beat the last time’. It’s not the most unpredictable style — Muay Thai, defensive wrestling. It just looked a very similar guy.

“I thought he looked fantastic. Within a round he got the confidence back. You could see in round one he was very tentative after such a devastating knockout the last time, but as the rounds went on, you could see that old kind of confidence coming back.

“For the rematch it’ll be exciting. They’re going to have that great build-up again. But I think technically it’s going to be a very similar fight to the first one. So it loses a bit of the gloss of the big Edgar showdown, but Edgar had to do his job. He had to do his side of the bargain. He had to go in there and show that he had made all those improvements from their first meet. If anything I think the difference was greater.”

Kavanagh added: “I think [Aldo] has improved a lot at beating that sort of guy again, but Conor’s not a short wrestler. I’m sure Aldo will have a more tempered approach the next time. I think the first time he did certain things that I don’t think he will do the second time.

“It will be very hard to beat 13 seconds the second time but he will definitely want to show his dominance and that it wasn’t a lucky punch.”

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Paul Dollery

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